February 21, 2024

Father drowns while saving his 3 children in New Jersey river

Police: Father drowns after saving 3 kids in Franklin Township

Police: Father drowns after saving 3 kids in Franklin Township


A man died on Wednesday after pulling his three children to safety from a river in central New Jersey, authorities said. CBS New York previously reported the incident.

Witnesses recalled seeing the father follow his children into the Millstone River — a tributary of the larger Raritan River that stretches about 40 miles long — after they entered the water and “quickly became distressed,” the Franklin Township Police Department said in a statement shared to its Facebook page. The children are 8, 11 and 13 years old, according to the statement. Witnesses told police their father was able to move all three of them to shallow water before losing his balance and disappearing into the river.

The man, identified as a 42-year-old resident of South River, could not be found when officers arrived at the scene on Wednesday afternoon, although his children were already on the shore. A dive team with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s office located and recovered the man’s body at around 5:30 p.m. ET while searching the river. Authorities were initially called to the scene about three hours earlier.

Police said the man’s name will be released after his family members are notified. His children were treated and released at the scene and did not need “further medical attention,” according to the department.

This week’s incident at the Millstone River comes after a spate of recent drownings by adults while trying to save children. 

Last month, a man drowned in a pond in Maine while trying to rescue his two daughters, who had been swept out to a deeper section where the pond meets a river, the Associated Press reported, citing the Maine Warden Service. Another man died in a drowning on July 4, when he jumped from his boat on Lake Michigan to save a child who had fallen from a raft and was struggling in the water, CBS Chicago reported. Officials later identified the man as Luke Laidley, a 43-year-old Winnetka resident who had survived the 9/11 attacks in New York City. 

Earlier, in June, an New York City firefighter died in a rip current after trying to rescue his daughter from the water in Avon-by-the-Sea along the Jersey shore. A 37-year-old man died in Pennsylvania’s Lake Nockamixon several weeks later after rescuing two children, according to CBS Philadelphia.

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